Matt O'Hanlon had three of Nebraska's five interceptions against Landry Jones and the Huskers squeezed enough production out of their struggling offense to upset No. 20 Oklahoma 10-3 Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.
The Sooners (5-4, 3-2 Big 12) failed to score a touchdown for the first time since a 29-0 loss to Texas A&M in 1998.
The Cornhuskers (6-3, 3-2) won despite getting just seven first downs and 180 total yards. No matter how ugly, a victory against Oklahoma is always special, just ask coach Bo Pelini. "I've had some great ones, but this ranks right up there."
"That game could have gone a lot of different ways and we just found a way to hang in there and hang in there and we made enough plays to win the football game," Pelini said.
NU was able to get a yard when they really needed it after Prince Amukamara returned an interception to the OU 1 in the second quarter. Zac Lee threw a short pass to Ryan Hill for the only touchdown of the game.
Oklahoma's last two possessions ended on interceptions, including O'Hanlon's third. O'Hanlon ran back his first interception 30 yards to set up Alex Henery's 28-yard field goal.
"Personally, it can't get much better," said O'Hanlon, who also had a team-leading 12 tackles.
Roy Helu Jr. ran for 138 yards on 20 carries for Nebraska, which won for the first time in five meetings against Oklahoma since 2001. After Lee took a knee to end the game, Helu and a band of teammates dashed to the end zone stands to do their own version of the "Lambeau Leap" to celebrate with fans.
The Huskers moved to within a half-game of first-place Kansas State in the Big 12 North race.
The defenses controlled the game as expected. Jones, who completed his last 14 passes against Kansas State a week earlier, missed on 10 of his first 12 and finished 26-of-58 for 245 yards. Ryan Broyles caught eight balls for 74 yards.
"Obviously, I'd like to have a couple of those plays back," said Jones. "I missed a couple of throws high. Goes over the receiver's head and the safety was right there. The ball was sailing on me a little bit."
Oklahoma turned the ball over on downs three times inside the Nebraska 25. Twice the Sooners were unable to convert fourth-and-1s at the 20, including one messed up by a false-start penalty on left tackle Trent Williams.
"Offensively, we took care of the football and we were playing well defensively," Pelini said. "I just felt like we were in control. Even when they got down there close, I felt we were in good shape."
O'Hanlon dropped what looked to be a sure interception on the play before he picked off Jones to finish off the Sooners. O'Hanlon flung the ball into the air, drawing an excessive celebration penalty, and then the Huskers ran out the last few seconds.
Nebraska picked off five passes in a game for the first time since 2003 against Texas A&M and O'Hanlon became the first Husker player since 1979 to intercept three.
"They made the plays they needed to win the game," said OU coach Bob Stoops. "It would have been hard for our defense to play much better. Offensively, we moved the ball quite frequently, but we couldn't produce points. We didn't execute well enough or they'd execute better than we did in the red zone."
Nebraska led 7-3 at half and had made only one first down. Quarterback Cody Green, who made his first start in last week's 20-10 win at Baylor, led the Huskers' first five possessions. With the freshman in charge, the Huskers generated no first downs and 19 total yards.
Lee replaced Green after Amukamara's interception and connected with Hill for the touchdown on his first pass. Nebraska was in position to add to the lead after Helu broke a 63-yard run to the OU 11. Two plays later, Lee's option pitch to Helu was too high and Gerald McCoy recovered for the Sooners.
Oklahoma missed out on three scoring chances before Tress Way kicked a 28-yard field goal with :24 left the half. Way missed from 46 yards and had his 45-yard attempt blocked by Ndamukong Suh, and Nebraska came up with a big stop when nickel back Eric Hagg stuffed DeMarco Murray for a 2-yard loss on fourth-and-1 from the Huskers 20.
Henery had his streak of 25 straight field goals made inside 50 yards end when he missed from 43 yards in the fourth quarter.
"How about our defense?" Lee said. "It's fun to watch when you have a defense like that. It's good to know as a quarterback that they can lock down a game."